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Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead!-Nay, not so much, not
So excellent a king; that was to this,
Hyperion to a satyr': so loving to my mother,
That he might not let e'en the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown

By what it fed on: And yet, within a month,-
Let me not think on 't:Frailty, thy name



A little month; or ere those shoes were old,
With which she follow'd my poor father's body, 15
Like Niobé, all tears:-why she, even she,--
O heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourn'd longer,—marry'd with my

My father's brother; but no more like my father, 20
Than I to Hercules: Within a month;
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She marry'd.-O most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue!
Enter Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus.
Hor. Hail to your lordship!

Hor. Season' your admiration for a while
With an attent car; 'till I may deliver,
10Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.

Ham. For heaven's love, let me hear.
Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Arm'd at all points, exactly cap-à-pé,
Appears before them, and, with solemn march,
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
By their opprest and fear-surprized eyes, [till'd
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, dis-
Almost to jelly, with the act of fear,

Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secresy impart they did:

25 And Iwith them, the third night, kept the watch;
Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.

My father, Methinks, I see my father.

Hor. O where, my lord ?

Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.

Ham. I am glad to see you well:
Horatio, or do I forget myself?


Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant
Ham. Sir, my good friend: I'll change that
name with you2.

And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?-35

Mar. My good lord,


Ham. I am very glad to see you; good even,
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord.
Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so;
Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own repcrt
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinour?
We'll teach you to drink deep, ere you depart.
Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's
Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Hor. Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral
bak'd meats'

Hor. I saw him once, he was a goodly king. Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all, shall not look upon his like again.


Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw! who?


Ham. But where was this?

Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we
Ham. Did you not speak to it?
Hor. My lord, I did;

But answer made it none: yet once, methought,
It lifted up its head, and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak:
But, even then, the morning cock crew loud;
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanish'd from our sight.


Hor. My lord, the king your father.
Ham. The king my father!


Ham. 'Tis very strange.

Hor. As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in our duty,
To let you know of it.


Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles
45 Hold you the watch to-night?
All. We do, my lord.
Ham. Arm'd, say you?
All. Arm'd, my lord.
Ham. From top to toe?

All. My lord, from head to foot.

Ham. Then saw you not his face?

Hor. O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
Hum. What, look'd he frowningly?
Hor. A countenance more

Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
'Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven, 55 In sorrow than in anger.
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!-

Ham. Pale, or red?

Hor. Nay, very pale.

Ham. And fix'd his eyes upon you?
Hor. Most constantly.

i. e. I'll be your

By the Satyr is meant Pan; as by Hyperion, Apollo.—Pan and Apollo were brothers; and the allusion is to the contention between those gods for the preference in music. servant, you shall be my friend. It was anciently the general custom to give a cold entertainment to mourners at a funeral. In distant counties, this practice is continued among the yeomanry. • Dearest is most immediate, consequential, important. Eye is certainly more worthy of Shakspeare.


That is, temper it.

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Ham. His beard was grizzl'd? no?
Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd.

Ham. I will watch to-night; Perchance, 'twill walk again. Hor. I warrant, it will.


Ham. If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape,
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue;
I will requite your loves: So, fare you well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit


All. Our duty to your honour.
Ham. Your loves, as mine to you: Farewell.

My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
I doubt some foul play: 'would, the night were


'Till then sit still, my soul: Foul deeds will rise
(Though all the earth o'erwhelm them) to men's

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His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
5 The safety and the health of the whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscrib'd
Unto the voice and yielding of that body,
Whereof he is the head: Then if he says, he
loves you,

For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews, and bulk: but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps, he loves you now;
And now no soil, nor cautel', doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but, you must fear,

10 It fits your wisdom so far to believe it,
As he in his particular act and place

May give his saying deed; which is no further,
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
15 If with too credent ear you list his songs;

Or lose your heart; or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd' importunity.

Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister;
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
20 Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes :
The canker galls the infants of the spring
25 Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd;
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then: best safety lies in fear;
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.


Oph. I shall the effect of this good lesson keep, As watchman to my heart: but, good my brother, Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,

Shew me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whilst, like a puft and reckless libertine,
35 Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own read'.

Laer. O, fear me not.

I stay too long;-But here my father comes.
Enter Polonius.
40 A double blessing is a double grace;
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.

Pol. Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for

The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, 45 And you are staid for: There,-my blessings with you; [Laying his hand on Laertes' head. And these few precepts in thy memory Look thou character. Give thythoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion'd thought his act. 50 Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. The friends thou hast, and their adoption try'd, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch'd unfledg'd comrade. Be55 Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, [ware Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:

4 Virtue i. e. li

1i. e. what is supplied to us for a minute. The idea seems to be taken from the short duration of vegetable perfumes. 2 i. e. in sinews, muscular strength. 'i. e. no fraud, deceit. seems here to comprise both excellence and power, and may be explained the pure effect. centious. Chary is cautious. 'That is, heeds not his own lessons. Do not make thy palm callous by shaking every man by the hand. The figurative meaning may be, Do not by promiscuous conversation make thy mind insensible to the difference of characters.


The literal sense is,


Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it: go to, go to.
Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech,
my lord,

With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks'. I do

When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows: These blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat,-extinct in both,
10 Even in their promise, as it is a making,-
You must not take for fire. From this time,
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatinents at a higher rate,
Than a command to parley. For lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him, That he is young;
he walk,
And with a larger tether" may
Than may be given you: In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows: for they are brokers;
Not of that dye which their investments shew,
20 But mere implorators of unholy suits,

Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,
The better to beguile 12. This is for all,-
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment's leisure,
As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet.
Look to 't, I charge you; come your ways.
Oph. I shall obey, my



Act 1, Scene 4.]

Take each man's censure', but reserve thy

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
And they in France, of the best rank and station,
Are most select, and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend;
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all,-To thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!
Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my 15
Pol. The time invites you; go, your servants
Laer. Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well
What I have said to you.


Oph. 'Tis in my memory lock'd, And you yourself shall keep the key' of it. Laer. Farewell. [Exit Laertes. Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you? Oph. So please you, something touching the lord Hamlet.


Pol. Marry, well bethought:

[teous: 30

'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and boun-
If it be so, (as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution,) I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly,
As it behoves my daughter, and your
What is between you? give me up the truth.
Oph. He hath, my lord, of late made many 35
Of his affection to me.
Pol. Affection? puh! you speak like a green

Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
Oph. I do not know, my lord, what I should
Pol. Marry, I'll teach you think yourself a
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more 45

Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase)
Wronging it thus, you'll tender me a fool.

Oph. My lord, he hath importun'd me with love,
In honourable fashion.

The Platform.

Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
Ham. The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air.
Ham. What hour now?

Hor. I think, it lacks of twelve.

Mar. No, it is struck.

Hor. Indeed? I heard it not: it then draws
near the season,

40 Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
[Noise of music within.
What does this mean, my lord?
Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes
his rouse 13,
Keeps wassel, and the swaggering up-spring'
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum, and trumpet, thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.


Hor. Is it a custom ?

Ham. Ay, marry, is't:

4i. e. your

1 Censure is opinion. Chief is an adjective used adverbially; a practice common to our author: Chiefly generous. 3 That is, infix it in such a manner as that it never may wear out. The meaning is, that your counsels are as sure of remaining locked servants are waiting for you. ♦ Unsifted, for untried.—Untried signiup in my memory, as if you yourself carried the key of it. fies either not tempted, or not refined; unsifted, signifies the latter only, though the sense requires the She uses fashion for manner, and he former. That is, if you continue to go on thus wrong. 10 Entreatments here means company, conversaA proverbial saying. for a transient practice. "Tether is that string by which an animal, set to graze in grounds tion; from the French entrétien. 12 Do not believe (says Polonius to his daughter) uninclosed, is confined within the proper limits. Hamlet's amorous vows made to you; which pretend religion in them (the better to beguile) like those "A rouse is a large dose of liquor, a desanctified and pious vows [or bonds] made to Heaven. bauch. 14 See Macbeth, Act I. 15 That is, the blustering upstart, according to Dr. Johnson: but Mr. Steevens says, that up-spring was a German dance; and that the spring was also anciently the name of a tune.


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But, to my mind,-though I am native here,
And to the manner born,--it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach,than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel, east and west,
Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and, indeed, it takes

From ouratchievements, tho' perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth (wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin),
By the o'er-growth of some complexion',
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by some habit, that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners;-that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect;
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,—
Their virtues else (be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man inay undergo)
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: The dram of base
Doth all the noble substance of worth out',
To his own scandal.


Mar. Look, with what courteous action It waves you to a more removed ground: But do not go with it.

Hor. No, by no means.

Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord.

Ham. Why, what should be the fear?

I do not set my life at a pin's fee';


Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
That beetles o'er his base into the sea?



And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,
10 And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain,
That looks so many fathoms to the sea,
And hears it roar beneath.

Enter Ghost.

Hor. Look, my lord, it comes!

Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!

Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd; [hell;

Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from 30
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,

Thou con'st in such a questionable shape',
That I will speak to thee; I'll call thee, Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Let ine not burst in ignorance! but tell,
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cearments? why the sepulchre,]
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again? What may this mean,-40
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature'
So horridly to shake our disposition",

With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To alone.

And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?

It waves me forth again;—I'll follow it.
Hor. What, if it tempt you toward the flood,
my lord?

Ham. It waves me still:

Go on, I'll follow thee.



Mar. You shall not go, my lord. Ham. Hold off your hands. Hor. Be rul'd, you shall not go. Ham. My fate cries out, And makes each petty artery in this body As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.Still am I call'd-unhand me, gentlemen ;[Breaking from them. 25 By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets 1o me: I say, away:-Go on; -I'll follow thee. [Exeunt Ghost, and Hamlet. Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination. Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him. Hor. Have after:-To what issue will this come? Mar. Something is rotten in the state of DenHor. Heaven will direct it. mark. [Exeunt.

Mar. Nay, let's follow him.



A more remote Part of the Platform.

Re-enter Ghost, and Hamlet.

Ham. Whither wilt thou lead me? speak, I'll

go no further. Ghost. Mark me.

Ham. I will.

Ghost. My hour is almost come,

When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.


Ham. Alas, poor ghost!

Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing To what I shall unfold.

Ham. Speak, I am bound to hear.


50 Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt Ham. What?

Ghost. I am thy father's spirit;

Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night; And, for the day, confin'd to fast in fires, 55Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature, Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid To tell the secrets of my prison-house,

i. e. humour; as sanguine, melancholy, phlegmatic, &c. The dram of base means the least alloy of baseness or vice: To do a thing out, is to extinguish it, or to efface or obliterate any thing painted or written. 3i. e. in a shape or form capable of being conversed with.-To question, certainly, in our author's time signified to converse. It was the custom of the Danish kings to be buried in that manner The expression is fine, as intimating we were only kept (as formerly, fools in a great family) to make sport for nature, who lay hid only to mock and laugh at us, for our vain searches into her mysteries. Disposition, for frame. i.e the value of a pin. take away. ? Toys tor whims. 10 i. e. hinders or prevents me.


& i. e. I could

I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thyyoung blood;
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their

Thy knotty and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine :
But this eternal blazon must not be

To ears of flesh and blood:-List, list, O list!—
If thou didst ever thy dear father love,
Ham. O heaven!


Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural
Ham. Murder?

Gh st. Murder most foul, as in the best it is; But this most toul, strange, and unnatural.

Ham. Haste me to know it; that I, with wings
as swift

As meditation', or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.

Ghost. I find thee apt;

Ham. O, my prophetic soul! my uncle?
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
(O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!) won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity,
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage; and to decline
Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!

Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
10Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd':
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousell'd, disappointed, unaneal'd';
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
150 horrible! O horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursu'st this act,
20 Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm shews the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire ':
Adieu, adicu, adieu! remember me.


Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What
And shall I couple hell?-O fie!-Hold, hold, my
30 And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up!-Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
35I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,

All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
40 Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven.
O most pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables,-meet it is, I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain
45 At least, I am sure, it may be so in Denmark:

And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethè's wharf,
Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
"Tis given out, that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Den-25
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent, that did sting thy father's life,
Now wears his crown.


But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven;
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.

But soft methinks, I scent the morning air---
Brief let me be :-Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon' in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man,

That, swift as quicksilver, it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
And, with a sudden vigour, it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
5 The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.



So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word"
It is, Adieu, adieu! remember me.

I have sworn it.

Hor. My lord, my lord,———

Mar. Lord Hamlet,

Hor. Heavens secure him!

Ham. So be it!

Mur. Illo, ho, ho, my lord!

[Within. Within.



This similitude is extremely beautiful. The word meditation is consecrated, by the mystics, to signify that stretch and flight of mind which aspires to the enjoyment of the supreme good: So that Hamlet, considering with what to compare the swiftness of his revenge, chooses two of the most rapid things in nature, the ardency of divine and human passion, in an enthusiast and a lover. 2 Orchard for garden. 'That is, henbane. * Dispatch'd for bereft. i. e. without the sacrament taken; from the old Saxon word for the sacrament, housel. Disappointed is the same as unappointed; and may be properly explained unprepared. 1i. e. unanointed, not having the extreme unction. i. e. for lewdness. i. e. fire that is no longer seen when the light of morning approaches. 10 i. e. in this head confused with thought. "Hamlet alludes to the watch-word given every day in the military service, which at this time he says is, Adieu, adieu, remember me.



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